Wondering where to start serving from in a pickleball game, whether you can serve overhand, or if the ball touching a line is in or out? Our 60 second guide to pickleball serve rules has you covered!
Pickleball Serve Rules - the Basics
- Serves are hit underhand - overhead serves are not allowed!
- To start a game a player serves from the right half of their court diagonally to the right half of the opponent’s court.
- Players only get one serve attempt per point (as opposed to 2 serve attempts per point in tennis).
- Serves can be hit either in a forehand or backhand motion.
Pickleball Serve Rules - the Details
- When serving, players must stand behind the service line and serve diagonally into the opponent’s side of the court. This means if the ball is served from the left-hand side of the server’s court, it needs to land in the left-hand side of the opponent's court.
- Serves must land beyond the no volley zone or “kitchen” line and in the area diagonal to the server’s side of the court.
- The ball is considered ‘live’ if it lands on any of the exterior lines of the court (the sidelines and baseline), but it cannot touch the “kitchen” line. If this happens, the serve is considered a fault.
- There are no “lets” in pickleball. If the ball hits the net on the way over it is “live” just as if it did not hit the net.
Pickleball Serve Rules - the Technique
- When serving, at least one foot must remain planted on the ground until after the ball has been struck. Similarly, the player serving is not allowed to step past or onto the service line until after the ball has been struck.
- The paddle can only make contact with the ball in an upward motion, with the ball contacted when it is below the server’s navel or belly button.
- At contact with the ball, the uppermost point of the paddle head has to be below the uppermost point of the server’s wrist.
Here's a quick 30 second tutorial on how to serve in pickleball:
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) - Pickleball Serve Rules
What are the pickleball doubles serving rules?
Serving rules for doubles are a little confusing at first so we wrote a post on serving and scoring in pickleball doubles. See the "How to Keep Score in Pickleball Doubles" section, which details the rules for both serving and scoring.
What are the pickleball singles serving rules?
The serving rules in pickleball singles are easier than doubles, but there are still a few quirks that take examples to understand. See the "How to Keep Score in Pickleball Singles" section of this post for the rules on both serving and scoring in pickleball singles.